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Bailey stays cool under pressure for AL

Bailey stays cool under pressure for AL

ANAHEIM -- A's right-hander Andrew Bailey may not have been one of the eight hurlers put to use at last year's All-Star Game, but he perfectly played the unassuming role of wide-eyed rookie.

Fast forward one year later to the Midsummer Classic, Bailey was no longer a rookie but still wide-eyed, his new role now dependent upon getting one out with a runner on second to end the seventh, with the National League already up by two -- all in front of a larger-than-life audience.

Enter the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal, who quickly ran up a 3-2 count against the two-time All-Star. What followed, though, was a 94-mph fastball for ball four, putting a duo of NL players on first and second, Bailey now forced to face Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips.

The A's righty brought the count to 2-2 before watching Phillips swing through a nasty curveball for strike three.

Inning over. Trouble averted. Time for Bailey to breathe and return to fan mode, eventually witnessing a 3-1 victory by the NL on Tuesday. It marked the first time an Oakland player had appeared in an All-Star Game since Justin Duchscherer did so in 2008.

Awaiting Bailey in the dugout for a round of high fives was manager Bob Geren and teammate Trevor Cahill, who -- with the help of Bailey -- made the most of his inactivity after being deemed ineligible for the game because of his Sunday start.

"Trevor, he's a different breed," Bailey said. "He's pretty shy, quiet, but once you get to know him, he lets loose. All week he was kind of asking me what to do and how to go about his business. I just said, 'Hey man, be yourself. Don't be too shy. Everyone is the same and here for the same reason. But it will go by fast if you let it, so just enjoy the moment.'"

Named to the AL team on the strength of his 9-3 record and 2.94 ERA in 15 starts before the break, Cahill was forced to simply watch from the sidelines and brush shoulders with baseball's best.

He'll take it.

"I'm just here to soak it all in," Cahill said. "I'm just trying to pick guys' brains, hang out with Bailey and talk to other guys, and just have fun with it."

Bailey, meanwhile, had just one other goal in mind besides getting in the game, which followed a first half that saw the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year snag 18 saves and put up a 1.70 ERA.

"I wanted it to go a lot slower," Bailey said. "Last year kind of felt like it went by in two hours. There was a lot of excitement with the first time, going into the unknown you really didn't know what to expect. This year I've met some of the guys I didn't meet last year, and it's just great to be here.

"It's cool to kind of see the guys in their element. You play against them, you compete against them all year long. To be in the same locker room with the guys in here that you don't know, it's cool to see how they go about their business, and to get to know them on a more personal level. That's what it's kind of all about, for us anyway. Everyone I've met this year has been awesome."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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